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GM's Giant SUVs Might Be About to Get a Lot More Powerful, Report Claims

Anybody fancy a supercharged Suburban?

2021 chevrolet suburban z71
Chevrolet

General Motors's latest generation of full-sized SUVs — the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL (and Yukon Denali, if you give that uplevel trim the separate status GM does) and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV — are quite the improvement over their predecessors in many ways. Thanks to a new rear suspension, they ride more smoothly and offer far more usable space; they're also more stylish inside, and, arguably, better-looking than their immediate forebears, at least in certain cases.

One place they're not all that different from their predecessors, though: under the hood. Apart from the optional new turbodiesel inline-six (which, given American predilections, seems likely to sell in limited numbers), the engines powering GM's newest big sport-utes are basically the same 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8s found in the old ones.

But the gas-powered TahoeBurbanKonCalade family could be about to score way more power, according to a new report from Motor Trend. Supposedly, the full-size SUVs could be about to score a supercharger.

According to MT, a reliable anonymous source (who allegedly provided their bona fides by calling the specifics on the CT5-V Blackwing before anyone else) claims General Motors intends to roll out a supercharger package for the Tahoe/Suburban, Yukon and Escalade, most likely as a dealer-installed option.

How much extra power could we be looking at? Well, MT estimates around 200 bonus ponies — and considering that GM offers an approximate test case in the form of the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 found in the Camaro ZL1, we're inclined to agree. That would push the 420-hp 6.2 found in the SUVs up past 600 ponies — a nice slug of power for a three-ton-plus flying brick.

Would GM also offer it on the 5.3-liter V8? Well, MT's report seems to suggest the option would be limited to the larger engine, which seems logical for a couple reasons. GM obviously is more familiar with slapping a blower on the big smallblock than it is on the smaller one — again, see ZL1, Z06, CTS-V, etc. And a power-add for the 355-hp 5.3-liter would almost certainly push it well beyond the 6.2 liter's stock output, giving buyers less reason to jump up to the bigger engine (which, in the case of the Chevy and GMC models, is only available on certain uplevel models).

Furthering the argument that it might be restricted to the 6.2: MT reached out to noted tuner John Hennessey, who said he's discovered GM has locked the ECUs on the new SUVs equipped with the big engine, thus preventing his team from souping them up — but hasn't done the same for the full-size pickups with the same engine.

So if this report is on the level — and considering everyone from BMW to Mercedes-Benz to Dodge now offers three-row SUVs with crazy power outputs these days, it seems pretty sensible — when can we expect to see these more potent Generals on the streets? That remains to be seen. (MT's source says COVID-19 has delayed things.) But considering it doesn't seem like that tough a change, we're hoping we'll see it in the next couple years. At the very least...we know it'll have to happen before 2035.

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